Making Pollen Patties
Fall feeding of pollen supplement can really help a colony overwinter well and emerge in the Spring raring to go! It can also be used in early Spring to kick-start brood rearing. When it IS used this way, it needs to be continued until the bees are consistently bringing in pollen on their own.|
The simplest way to offer a pollen supplement is to use a commercial mix. I have used Mega-Bee quite successfully and like that it can be offered as a patty or a liquid.
But some of us just HAVE to "tinker" a bit, and the recipe for that needs a few ingredients not usually found in the local grocery store! My pollen patty recipe is based on a number of others, most especially Randy Oliver's commercial recipe, but in a quantity more in keeping with the needs of smaller beekeepers. This recipe makes approximately 25 pounds of patties.
In a 5 gallon bucket and using a variable-speed drill with a mixing paddle attached, combine:
Combine the ingredients one at a time, mixing with the paddle as you go. Add the water last, using just enough to achieve the consistency for patties. Too much water and they become too soupy to hold together. Too little and they become bricks! I make hamburger-sized patties and place them on the tops of the bars directly above the cluster, usually one at a time to avoid attracting SHBs. These nasty critters like to lay eggs in them and otherwise dirty them, so I keep a very close eye out. If they are just too overwhelming, I'll remove my patties and offer liquid Mega-Bee instead.
Please note: If you are using my pollen patty recipe for queen rearing, I STRONGLY recommended that you omit the essential oils from the mix, as they may interfere with successful queen mating. EOs are believed to possibly mask or alter the queen's scent during her mating flight.
Also, it is important to remember that if you feed patties in the spring, you MUST keep fresh patties on the hive until they begin bringing in their own pollen or the hive (now rearing brood because of the patties) may starve without them.
(**This is a water-soluble product from AgriLabs that contains vitamins, electrolytes, and probiotics, many of which have been shown to be utilized by bees. It is available from most feed stores.)